Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Happy and tasty Chinese New Year with a Japanese twist…

My absolute favorite place to go to eat in Chicago on a Sunday morning is in our beautiful Chinatown for Dim Sum at Won Kow Restaurant. It is a true slice of heaven...

To be perfectly honest, the best ever Dim Sum I have eaten was at Kay Cheung Seafood in San Francisco’s Chinatown. However, this year my wallet can not stretch enought to dine out at either place to celebrate Chinese New Year. Yet Chinese New Year has brought out my outrageous craving for my all time Dim Sum favorite, the delicious gyoza dumplings…shrimp, pork, vegetarian…one bite of these and I am one happy litttle person.
Due to the freezing weather here and the very chilly economy everywhere, I decided to make my own vegetarian gyoza dumplings to celebrate.

Gyoza is a popular dumpling in Japanese cuisine.
Gyoza originated in China, and it is said to have been introduced to Japan in late 17th century.
Gyoza dumplings are cooked in various ways: deep-fried, boiled, steamed, or pan-fried. The most common way to cook gyoza is pan-fried. The bottoms of gyoza dumplings should be brown and crunchy. I like to steam fresh or previously frozen gyoza for 5 minutes and then pan-fry them in grape seed oil.

There are many types of fillings that are traditional for the gyoza dumpling. Ground pork or beef cabbage, chives and vegetables is what I have usually seen on the menu. The meat gyoza dumplings are wonderfully filling and rich as a main dish or an appetizer.

When I can get fresh, wild caught shrimp, I dice it fine then mash it with cabbage, onions, chives and a bit of lemon zest for a lighter filling. The shrimp-filled dumplings are called ebi-gyoza. However, my favorite gyoza and are the ones that you see here are vegetarian. The filling is a mixture of white cabbage, carrots, shallots, mashed edamame beans, white daikon radish, chives, sesame oil, ground ginger, salt and white pepper.

Gyoza wrappers are round and slightly thicker than wonton wrappers (wonton wrappers are square). You can find them in your local mega-mart in the refrigerated case.
Today I steamed my gyoza that I had made in a mesh strainer over 3 inches of water (make sure the water does not touch the mesh basket or the food). Before steaming, I rubbed the mesh with a tiny bit of grape seed oil so that the dumplings don't stick to the strainer.
I steamed them for 6-10 minutes until they were well cooked all the way through.

above are my efforts at vegetarian Gyoza

I serve my gyoza dumplings with dipping sauce.
I usually just dip in a high quality fermented Soy Sauce with no additives.
A good quality soy sauce only lists a few natural ingredients such as water, soybeans, wheat and salt. A sauce with a thin consistency is a good sign as a high quality soy sauce always has a light, thin consistency and a wonderful fresh flavor.
I like the Guangdong brand and also the Kikkoman brand that is widely available.

For another delicious gyoza dipping sauce, I mix :
3 Tbsp of good soy sauce

1 Tbsp of Rice Wine Vinegar

1/8 tsp ground fresh ginger

Hot Pepper flakes to your taste

A pinch of sugar

Mix well, dip the gyoza in your sauce of choice...

Then...
Eat.
Repeat.
Enjoy.
Yum.

Gung Hay Fat Choy…
have a prosperous and good year...!

6 comments:

Peter said...

I like Chinese and Japanese food (not only sushis), but referring to Asian food, I especially like the Vietnamese one! (Eating Chinese tomorrow with a Chinese friend.)

... now for a daily eating, I'm quite happy with the French cuisine as well!

A Brush with Color said...

I love international foods. These wonderful photos are so unique, too, Terrie! I hope it's a good Year of the Ox for us all. Wonderful post!

biz319 said...

I love Chinatown in Chicago. I live about 55 miles NW of Chicago, but manage to make it down there at least 3 times a year.

I've had the best orange chicken that I tried to recreate, but to no avail. Your wontons look delish!

Phil Lowe said...

We don't really have a downtown Chinese department here in Nottingham but there is a cool Chinese supermarket in Hockley (student quarter) and a big Chinese population around the Nottingham Uni at Beeston.

Gung Hay fat Choy

Mise En Place said...

Terrie, those look yummy!
I love Alton's potstickers some much, as you read! :)
I need to locate these type of wrappers and make some as well!

jeanette mistress of longears said...

Utterly yummy! Your vegetarian version sounds wonderful...This post brings back memories of what I then perceived as the very tedious work of mincing shrimp with a cleaver for the filling with my father. Now, it's been transformed to a cherished memory.

As you can see, I've been swamped at work and am just catching up on email this weekend.